Detroit was once the symbol of prosperity and economic development, but with the decline of the American auto industry, the Motor City has fallen into a great state of dilapidation.


The city has lost about a million of its residents (60% of its population) since the 1950s, and numerous factories, businesses and service buildings have been abandoned.

Two photography exhibitions at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. this fall explore the residential, commercial and industrial ruin of Detroit, Michigan.

Both “Detroit Is No Dry Bones” by sociologist and photographer Camilo José Vergara, who has been documenting the precipitous decline of Detroit for 25 years, and “Detroit Disassembled” by Andrew Moore, who is renowed fro his large-format photography, will be on display through February 18, 2013.

We are featuring selected images from the exhibitions, courtesy of the National Building Museum.

Hutchins Cole’s Garden, 1987

Downtown Detroit, 1991

Willie’s Garage, 1991

Former Packard Plant, 1993

Former Michigan Central Station, Detroit, 1993

Former Michigan Central Station, 2010

East Palmer Avenue towards Chene Street, a 95 degree day, Detroit, 1995

Former Oklahoma Gas Station, 1996

3497 Mack Avenue, Detroit, 2007

Shelter, Engine Works, Detroit Dry Dock Company Complex, Rivertown neighborhood, 2008

Cooper Elementary School, East Side, 2008

Rolling hall, Ford Motor Company, River Rouge Complex, Dearborn, 2008

House on Walden Street, East Side, 2008

The Aurora, Brush Park neighborhood, 2008

Abandoned videoconferencing room, Chase Tower, Financial District, 2008

Waiting room with snowdrift, Michigan Central Station, 2008

Del Ray Building, 2008

National Time clock, former Cass Technical High School building, 2009

Chemistry lab, former Cass Technical High School building, 2009

Sculpture of Dante Alighieri, Central Avenue at Vista Drive, 2009

Birches growing in decayed books, Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, 2009

 Former Highland Park State Bank (Wood Six Twin Adult Theater), 1993

Former Highland Park State Bank, 2002

Former Highland Park State Bank (Déjà vu Nightclub), 2009

Arnold Nursing Home, 7 Mile Road, 2009

Woodward Avenue at Sibley Street, Detroit, 2009

Detroit Mural by Bernard Belafonte, Eastside Check Cashing, 2011

Pilgrim Church, 2011

Nicky D’s Coney Island, 2011

Ruth Chapel AME Church, 2012

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